Did you know I won a selfie contest hosted by Dragonblade Publishing?! I know, right? Well the challenge caught my eye because it was for one of my favorite authors (and writing friends) the lovely E.L. Johnson. Who you may remember, I interviewed last April.
All I had to do was post a picture of myself holding my copy of The Strangled Servant, the first novel in the Perfect Poison Murder series, and use a special hashtag to signify my entry. The winner of the challenge won a starring role as a character in a holiday themed mini-mystery written by none other than E.L. Johnson herself!
And as the holiday gods would have it, my entry was selected as the winner. (Insert loud jingle bells, clapping and all around festive merriment).
As the winner I have been immortalized as Reed, a tall, blonde, holiday sleuth in E.L. Johnson’s short story, The Stolen Sauce. And to top it off, she was kind enough to do a mini-interview with me on her writing process.
How many mini-mysteries have you written and where can we find them all?
I've written about five now, but these I save for my newsletter subscribers, and to attract people to sign up to my newsletter! It's a bit cheeky I know. This is the first Christmas-themed mini-mystery I've written and it stars you, the winner of my selfie contest! It was a pleasure to create a character with you.
So, how did you get into writing mini-mysteries?
It all started a year ago. For Christmas, my mom sent me a cute little book of mini mysteries she'd picked up at an airport in the Midwest. They were all cozy mysteries and took up no more space than a page or two. Each could be solved within about a minute. To me, this was worth more than any other gift, because it gave me the idea that I could write my own. I love writing mysteries and short stories, so this felt like the perfect combination. Writing short cozies is fun for me as it's a departure from my usual style, which is writing historical murder mysteries.
When you write a mini-mystery, do you know who-dunnit before you start, or does the culprit reveal themselves as you write?
Sometimes both! I often start with an idea of what I want the crime to be, and I usually have a detective or amateur sleuth character I'm thinking about to solve the crime. With this latest mini mystery, all I knew was that an aunt's precious prizewinning sauce had suddenly gone missing at Christmas, and was presumed stolen. But as our beautiful detective finds out, there's more to be learned about this sauce, and the suspects present.
Besides crafting cute and cozy short stories, what other projects are you working on?
I'm busy writing the fourth book in the Perfect Poison series, a historical murder mystery series with Dragonblade Publishing. It stars Poppy Morton, a rather plain-looking clergyman's niece in 19th-century England, with no connections, no money, and only her sharp mind and good manners to help her solve mysteries with a dashing constable. I thought this fourth book would going to be a simple mystery, but I'm about 300 pages in and only one person has died so far, I thought there would be more! It's getting complicated with plots and subplots, so wish me luck!
Lastly, can you tell us about your latest book release and where we can buy your work?
My third book in the series, The Mistress Murders, just came out last month. Pick up a copy and see if you can figure out who is killing off London's mistresses, one by one.
E.L. Johnson writes historical mysteries. A Boston native, she gave up clam chowder and lobster rolls for tea and scones when she moved across the pond to London, where she studied medieval magic at UCL and medieval remedies at Birkbeck College. Now based in Hertfordshire, she is a member of the Hertford Writers’ Circle and the founder of the London Seasonal Book Club.
Well, I hope you enjoy reading The Stolen Sauce, starring me– and written by the witty, charming E.L. Johnson. Maybe you can solve the who-dunnit or be inspired to write your own mini-mystery! You never know if you don’t try.